How a Highland Park family designed the perfect dream home for fun

Like everything in fashion Dallasite is worth their the salt-rimmed margarita glass knows it, a trip to Highland Park Village can be an exciting experience, so expensive, venture out. But it was on one of the many morning walks for coffee in the famous shopping destination that Brandi and Pete Chilian found the ultimate object of their affection: their dream land. “We walked this block all the time,” recalls Brandi, who at the time lived a street down the road. “We said to our real estate agent, who is a good friend of ours, ‘If he ever hits the market, you have to tell us.’ “

About five years later, they got the call they expected. They quickly assembled a top-notch team to build their forever home: SHM Architects (“Literally every house we drove by and say, ‘We love this house’, we were looking for it, and it was SHM,” she said. said); builder Isler Homes, who had worked with the Chileans on a complete renovation of their old home; and designer Mary Beth Wagner, whom Brandi has considered a friend for over 20 years.

The formal living room is where guests tend to congregate, with plenty of seating options thanks to custom swivel chairs by the limestone fireplace and a pair of Bonacina “Eva” rattan chairs. The rug is Interior Resources, the sheen is ocher, and the scallop bowl is Blue Print.

The architectural plans started with the central bar – a choice inspired by the home of Brandi’s aunt and uncle, who are consummate hosts – and built from there. The ability to easily entertain themselves was paramount for the family, whose previous 1930s home had a closed layout that limited flow. After 11 years there, the family were also ready to change from their traditional vibe, swapping Shaker shingles for stucco and scrolling details for clean lines.

Other must-sees were the outdoor spaces for their two sons to enjoy, a master suite downstairs and a cozy atmosphere throughout. To accomplish the latter, Wagner chose more transitional furniture, fabrics and finishes than the contemporary exterior of the house suggests. The deep-rooted trust of the client-designer duo was essential, as much of the selections were made during the height of the pandemic, each in different states. “A lot of important decisions have been made about Zoom,” says Wagner.

Completed last November, the house ticks all the family boxes, with some spaces delighting them in ways they never expected. The formal living room has become, by design, the de facto entertainment space for adults. In addition to its proximity to the bar, practical seating, like a pair of custom swivel chairs, and cleanable performance fabrics make it a comfortable and natural place to gather. While the majority of the house is awash in soothing tones, Brandi loves the way Wagner has incorporated a richer palette into the children’s playroom. “She did such a good job mixing it up, and it’s so childish,” she says. She and her husband both love the ‘spa’ feel that Wagner has created in the master suite, while their ‘sport-obsessed’ sons (and their friends) enjoy the backyard, which includes a half – regulation size basketball court, putting green, and swimming pool. But Brandi’s favorite room in the house is also Wagner’s proudest: the breathtaking dining room. “I think this is my favorite wallpaper I’ve ever installed,” admits Wagner of Élitis wallcovering, which is matched, she says, only by Aux Abris in the bath wallpaper. powder: “It’s almost a tie.

The luxury master bathroom is flooded with natural light, through a wall of windows facing a private courtyard, with a Brown Jordan “Oscar” chair. The floating mirrors are personalized, the tiling is by Ann Sacks and the vase is by Benny Jack Antiques.

Nathan Schröder

These days, Wagner enjoys the fruits of her professional labor as a friend when she visits her longtime friend. And while mixing business and friendship could have been a tricky task, let alone the stress of building a house in the midst of a global pandemic, the couple agree the process couldn’t have gone any easier. Said Brandi, “We had so much fun.”

Accommodation with most

When most people think of “user-friendly” they think about an open floor plan. But there is more than happy accommodation that a good flow. Designer Mary Beth Wagner shares her essentials for a house ready for lodging and how it consider each when designing a space.

Breakfast room

Nathan Schröder


Nathan Schröder


Nathan Schröder

Butler’s Pantry

Nathan Schröder

  1. Many seats When designing formal or family meeting spaces, Wagner says to make sure there are multiple seating options available. “While sofas look great and serve a purpose, I think people are more comfortable and relaxed on chairs,” she says. “I like to add a lot of occasional chairs and stools so that everyone has a place.”
  2. A welcoming (and well stocked) bar A bar is a fun addition to any home, and not just for the obvious reasons. “This is one of my favorite design areas,” says Wagner, “because it allows you to bring in different textures and finishes that are somewhat different from the rest of the house. Wagner says if you have any barware and glassware worthy of display, be sure to create spaces for it.
  3. Indulgent materials If you’re cool with wear, Wagner says you can’t beat marble counters. But if you’re less into the weathered look or just worried about red wine spills from loud party guests, go for something more indulgent. “A quartzite is a great, beautiful and durable option,” she says.
  4. Preparation spaces There will inevitably be unsightly aspects to the reception: dirty dishes, empty bottles, etc. The places where you can keep them out of sight or cook a meal in private are crucial. “Pantry or prep kitchens should always be considered when drawing up plans,” says Wagner. “They get used to it more often and are another area to add unexpected design elements.”

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